Rural Property Manager, Homemade Handicrafts, and Other Business Startups

This installment of an ongoing business startups feature a New York state man who became a rural property manager and a Michigan man who found success in his retirement producing homemade handicrafts.

| November/December 1979


Just what bootstrap business startups need.


The following are business startups that readers established after reading articles in MOTHER EARTH NEWS.

Rural Property Manager

My wife Loretta and I recently got a push toward self-sufficiency when we read " 'Landlord' Doesn't Have to Be a Dirty Word" in MOTHER EARTH NEWS.

We'd been renting a converted barn—located in the Catskill region of New York state—from absentee owners who were based in New York City. And since the proprietors weren't in a position to maintain the property themselves, Loretta and I had been working as unofficial maintenance people for our landlords' Catskill farmhouse, apartment, and barn. We were in the process of buying our first home at the time and were, therefore, in desperate need of an extra source of income. MOTHER, of course, came through for us: Her article on landlording gave us the confidence we needed to propose that the proprietors of the property we were living on hire us to manage their buildings. Lo and behold, they accepted our offer and we were in business!

The total initial investment in our enterprise was $100—the amount of our lawyer's fee to draw up the lease which rented us all three of the Catskill structures on 50 acres of land. My wife and I in turn sublet the buildings and became responsible for maintaining all the property. Before long, we'd moved out of our converted barn apartment in order to sublease it too, because our little sideline business was netting us enough monthly cash profit to make the mortgage payments on our new home!

Loretta and I have had such success with our first attempt at landlording that we're currently looking for additional property to manage. There are lots of city dwellers who own country homes and cottages, but have neither the time nor the inclination to take proper care of their holdings. The land and the buildings are out there waiting for MOTHER EARTH NEWS-type do-it-yourselfers to step right in and take 'em over!

Dan Dooling
West Shokan, NY

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